Sunday, January 15, 2017

Confidence Leads to Comfort

Alice's confidence in herself has made her ever so comfortable with the fetish.

"The older I got, and when I got to know you, Patrick, the more comfortable I got with the idea of a fetish in general."
- Alice, Wu's Feet Links Interview (Jan. 2016) 



There I am, nose to toes with Alice's size 11 feet and her well worn flats - the ones she wears to work daily. She doesn't care. Nope. She actually thinks it's rather adorable. And knowing her, she probably wore them a little longer just to moisten them up inside. Oh Alice...

Alice is like many of the females I've become friends with over the years. She doesn't find my fetish to be anything out of the ordinary. She fully believes your kinks should be something you embrace. She even said as much in her January 2016 Interview on the Wu's Feet Links Interviews Blog.

"There is nothing to be ashamed of. We like what we like and everyone likes something different. Take pride in what sexually arouses you! Have fun with it!" she encouraged.

I decided to start this blog off with Alice because of the journey she took to get to where she is now modeling. It would have been so easy for Alice to classify me as a "creepy old guy with a foot fetish," and never entertain the idea. Add in the 18 years separating us and her preconceived notion about the fetish prior to shooting for me and it makes for a great example of the purpose of this blog.

"When I was first introduced to foot fetishism, I thought it was a joke, honestly. I was a little judgmental and thought it was weird," she admitted.

So what made her change her mind? What lead her to eagerly want stick her sweaty feet in my face for the photo above? It was my confidence as it pertains to my fetish and ability to make her feel comfortable because of it. That led to her own confidence to grow and her own feelings to change. Now she realizes the beauty and power her large size 11 feet have over many of us out there.

"The older I got, and when I got to know you, Patrick, the more comfortable I got with the idea of a fetish in general," Alice said.

Alice's ever growing confidence has led to her becoming one of the site's most photographed models within just two short years. It just continues to grow and now she's even asking her friends to shoot.

There was once a time, however, where I didn't exude that confidence in my fetish. It's been an awful long time, but my love for women's feet was something I used to be embarrassed about. You'd have to go back to when I was 18 and dating Abby to find that version of me.


All these years later, I'm so lucky to have Abby still modeling her adorable little feet.

Back in 1997 a skinnier me was getting introduced to perhaps still the softest feet I've ever touched. Abby read me like a book. Even back in high school, before we dated, she knew I liked feet. Once we started dating, she went and made a monster out of me. First, however, she had to open the cage door and make me step out. And it didn't take her long to unlock that door and begin that process either.

The very first day we hung out together, she was sticking McDonald's French fries between her toes and encouraging me to eat them. A much more timid me, was hesitant. I had never experienced such a blatant request and yet, there she was, beckoning me with a confidence of her own that started to make me feel more comfortable. Each and every experience afterward would only make my own confidence grow. Still, however, that was only between the two of us.

A few months later, Abby told me that she told a few of her friends that I had a foot fetish. I honestly remember that conversation in her living room and feeling embarrassed. "How would they look at me now?" I thought.

Abby assured me that her friends thought it was awesome. I was still feeling a little unsure of her decision, but I'd eventually see that she was right. I even got to take foot fetish photos of one of those friends, an Asian girl living next door. When I got them both together in a set, I didn't think it could get any better. The monster was officially born.

In her 2006 Wu's Feet Links Fan Interview, Abby shed some light on her feelings all those years ago. She said, "My ex-boyfriend, Patrick, is who got me into the foot fetish world. That was his thing and I supported it. I told him it was a great thing and not to be shy about it."

Fast forward to present day and I guess you can say the shoe is now on the other foot, pun intended. It's my own confidence that has allowed me to have countless female friends shoot for Soles of Silk. I rarely have to convince anyone. I just ask. The only things that generally holds my female friends back from shooting are their partners not being as comfortable with the idea, or things such as jobs. These girls know what I do and have become comfortable enough with me to want to kick their shoes off and show all of you their feet. And as you can see, even after we broke up back in 1999, Abby still actively models her captivating feet for me. I'm glad we've maintained our friendship and that she still loves being in front of my camera making her feet wrinkle up like no other.


If Mindee could shoot every day, I honestly think she would. She loves it.

I'd be lying if I told you that some models didn't need a little convincing though. Even Mindee, the site's most photographed model, wasn't sure about it back in 2004. Once she became comfortable, however, her confidence also began to grow. Now Mindee has over 4,000 photos and counting with no signs of stopping. Another thing she's quick to take advantage of is my foot massage skills. If I haven't grabbed her feet at some point during our get togethers, she's sure to push the issue. Down time is foot rub time! We're actually meeting today for lunch and a foot rub. This is such a far cry from how things were 13 years ago. In her case, I might have created the monster!

"In the beginning I was terrified. The simple fact is you're my friend and you already made me feel comfortable. The truth now is, I absolutely enjoy it!" Mindee said in her 10 for 10 interview conducted during Soles of Silk 10 Year Anniversary celebration.

As you can see, both Mindee and Alice have had a similar story. They both came from a place of uncertainty and progressed to a place where they can't wait to find some more time in front of the camera, or with their feet being pampered by yours truly. The same holds true for some of the models I wasn't friends with prior, say someone who was a friend of a friend, for example. 

When those first timers show up to a shoot and and see how laid back I am about the site and fetish, they begin to grow more comfortable. I sometimes even crack jokes about the fetish, or even on myself for having it. I don't care. If it helps relieve any tension that girl may have, I'll do it.

"I just might be the only male photographer you'll have that means your toes when I ask you to, 'spread'em," I will often say to a newbie.

I don't think that has never not elicited a laugh. Then I'll usually tell her that I should look into what the other guys are shooting now that I think about it. Again, that's usually followed by more laughs. Those little things go a long way.

With all this said, I won't sit here and tell you that there isn't the rare exception where a woman is just repulsed by the idea of someone into feet. Not everyone has the same opinions, or are as open minded as likes Abby, Alice, or Mindee. These types of people won't change their mind, no matter what you say. There is no need to try to convince them. Surely, there are some models who you might be able to pay enough money to get in front of your camera, but I'm talking more about those who do it because they have fun with it. The ones you have to overpay won't be fun to shoot and I have no interest in them. To each their own, though.

When it comes to personal friendships, if there is ever a person who ceases being your friend, or treats you with disrespect for simply having a foot fetish, they're not worth your time. Move on and find someone less petty. Life is too short to surround yourself with people like that. No real need to elaborate on this any further. Let them screw off.

It is not impossible have a healthy friendship with someone who will never understand your fetish or kinks pertaining to feet though. I currently work with such a girl who turned me down ASAP when I asked her to shoot a couple of years ago. She hates feet and doesn't get the fetish at all. Even when Kaycee and Reagan tried to talk her into shooting, she flat out refused. Kaycee and Reagan have a blast shooting and thought they might be able to talk her into it - girl to girl. But alas, nope. I did appreciate their effort though.

Regardless of her feelings, I can respect that. It doesn't appeal to her and has never affected our friendship. If over time she should begin to have a change of heart, then maybe we'll shoot. For now though, she's just a friend who doesn't get barefoot in front of my camera. You can have those friends.

The one thing that I've come to find troublesome is when you're in a romantic relationship and your partner is the one who can't accept your fetish. For me, I cannot be with someone who doesn't accept my fetish. If that sounds selfish, I make no apologies. My fetish is a part of me and I know there are enough people out there who would appreciate it. And yes, I've been in a relationship with someone who hated the attention I'd tried to give her feet. That person is Paige Noelle, who'd later model for the site.


I was shocked when Paige offered to model for me after we broke up.

Paige and I only dated for several months, but the entire time we did, she protested my desire to give her a foot rub while we'd watch TV, or relax after a long day at work. Knowing that, I knew other kinks concerning her feet were out of the question. We lasted only a few months and broke things off amicably.

With that knowledge, you can imagine my confusion when Paige offered to shoot for Soles of Silk a couple of years after we broke up. She wanted me to take some standard pictures of her and offered to do mine in trade. She admitted that she still didn't get the whole fetish, and didn't find her feet to be as cute as I claimed. She still thought it could be fun nonetheless and I accepted her offer. As strange as it sounds, loved being back around her feet. It was like they were that forbidden fruit. That shoot was easily the most time I spent before her tender feet, before, during, or after our break up. 

When it comes to other people's relationships, I have been contacted by a number of guys over the years who are in a similar situation as I was with Paige. It's hard for me to give them advice because in some of cases, they've hidden their fetish their entire lives. Ever since Abby, all my subsequent girlfriends have known the deal with my fetish. Minus Paige, all of them adored the attention I gave their feet. They'd throw their feet in my lap for a foot rub without my asking, then eventually have journey elsewhere - both north and south. Whether it was for teasing or pleasing purposes, those girls loved the power their feet had over me and made sure to take advantage of it. That's just what loving couples do.

What really upsets me is when I hear some of these guys tell me that not even their own wife or girlfriend know about their fetish, even though they've been together for a long time. I can't even fathom what that would be like. But it gets worse...  Some even think telling their spouse could potentially tear apart their relationship. That's just not good. How do you even respond to that?

I'm no relationship councilor, so the only thing I can tell people in this situation is basically what I've said above. Accept your fetish. Let go of the fear of that others will think less of you. If you display your confidence, and appreciate a woman above her ankles as well (very important), then more times than not, she'll come around to it.

Ultimately, only you know yourself and those who surround you. No matter what you do in life, never feel bad about having your fetish. Accept it, but don't allow it to consume you. It can be a fun part of who you are, if you allow it to be. You might start off like I did and be weary of the path before you, but just know that some of those twists and turns can lead you to some memorable times.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful

I'm thankful for all my models, especially ones such as Mindee (left) and Cierra.


Today, in the United States, is Thanksgiving - a day to be thankful for the things you have in life. Since Soles of Silk is in its 12th year now, there are a lot of things that I am thankful for here in the online foot fetish community. I thought this month's column would be the perfect chance to go into all those things I am thankful for. I decided to hold off and post it today for the full effect.

Site Models
Without all the ladies who have shown me their feet over the years, Soles of Silk would have never opened, let alone be entering its 13th year in 2017. A total of 93 models to date have shown off their soles and toes, most of them doing so on multiple occasions. And while not all of those 93 models still currently shoot, I thank each and every one of them for what they have done.

Site Members
Obviously a pay site cannot exist without members. To all of you have spent your hard earned money for a membership at any point over the last 13 years, I say thank you! It doesn't matter if you've been with me from the start, have had off/on memberships, or are even a brand new member - each and every one of you have helped keep this all possible. This is why I try my hardest to reward free membership time with random contests, like the recently completed, Mindeemania Contest

Site Fans
Although many of the members, if not all of them, could be considered fans, I'm listing this separate for a reason. I know many people enjoy Soles of Silk and its models, but do not have a membership for whatever reason. Regardless, I still enjoy hearing the feedback and having conversations with all of you. So many people have sung the praises of Soles of Silk and/or the models on social media, or the Wu's Feet Links Forum over the years, and I really do appreciate that. This is also why I like to run the contests. Sometimes people who cannot afford to be a member due to factors in life can win some time to enjoy all that Soles of Silk has to offer. It's just another way for me to show some appreciation.

Site Host - BHE
When I launched Soles of Silk in 2004, I went with BHE as a host. So many sites I followed, or was friends with during the time of my prior free sites, were hosted by BHE. I reached out to them and they've been nothing but helpful and supportive from the start. I know I could probably host elsewhere and maybe have a few extra abilities I don't currently have access to, but the ease in which BHE works has been valuable to me. In addition, they're always there when I have a question and have supported me with whatever I wanted to do. This leads right into the next item.

Getting to interview others in the community for Wu's Feet Links has been great.

Wu & Wu's Feet Links
Without Wu and Wu's Feet Links, Soles of Silk would not be where it is today. I think most webmasters who started between the early 2000's - Wu's passing will say the same thing. Wu is probably the nicest, most down to earth, drama free person you would have ever met online. He loved my work and his feedback always made me feel good about what I do. Whenever he complimented one of my models, which was a regular occurrence, I couldn't wait to pass that praise onto the girls. I really made their day!

When he passed away a few years ago, I reached out to BHE with a small game plan on ways to keep his site going. I wanted to keep his vision, his baby, if you will, going as best as we could without him at the helm. And while I'm not always happy with how things turn out, it's only because I want what's best for this site. I'd seriously give it all up, however, to have him back. Since that can't happen, however, I am thankful for all of you who have helped me with these columns, the interviews on the Wu's Feet Links Interviews Blog, with feature model submissions, and in the forum. You've helped make some added work on my plate a little bit easier. Thank you for all the compliments and offers of assistance over these last few years.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Wasted Time & Wasted Days

Alice has been nothing but dependable from the first time I shot with her in 2015.


Typically I am not one to put drama out online. I've gotten on my own friends and relatives who participate in it on places such as Facebook, but today I need to climb onto a soapbox. I, however, will not be naming names here. I'm, instead, here to vent about a topic that is near and dear to many photographers out there. That topic is models who waste your time and waste your open days.

Now, I will be totally up front and say that I generally do not shoot what most consider to be "foot fetish models." I mostly stick to friends and friends of those friends. I still, however, face that same fate as so many of my peers. And just like those peers, it annoys the hell out of me. This weekend among them.

Again, I will not be naming any names, but today I was set to shoot a friend of mine who has not shot with me since 2013. Her debut was halfway through 2012 and in that short span of time, became one of the most talked about, most beloved models on Soles of Silk. And best of all, she was simply put, a doll. 

This model and I were good friends, first and foremost. Best of all, she loved modeling for the site. Then one day, she just stopped replying to me for shoots. We had plans to do some really interesting ideas too. To make matters even worse, I had given her a couple hundred dollars worth of outfits and accessories I wanted her to wear in those planned sets. When she stopped replying to me and then ultimately no showed that shoot date, I was perplexed. I kept trying to reach out to her, but nothing.

As the months went by I tried to reach out to her, even if it was just to get the outfits back. If something had changed in her life to where she didn't want to model anymore, that is okay. Just be honest with me and give me those items back. I could always have someone else wear them. Still, nothing.

This got to the point where I just stopped trying - until recently. I decided to see if I could reach out to her a few years later and much to my surprise, she got back to me. We made small talk and decided to get together and shoot. She was looking forward to it, so it seemed, and I was so excited to be having this model back on the site. Then today's shoot... well, cancellation.

This model told me she'd be able to shoot after class on Monday. I told her I would leave the day open and look for some spots around her way. I wanted to try to get in several sets because she has been away for so long. She said that sounded great and that was the plan.

Well, in the days leading up to today's shoot I didn't get an answer from her when I sent her texts. In the back of my mind I figured this would happen, but I had kept my fingers crossed. It wasn't until today, about an hour or so before we were scheduled to shoot, that I got any kind of reply from her. In it, she stated that she hasn't paid attention to her phone lately, she's super swamped with class and work, and her feet weren't in any condition to shoot. She then asked if I could do next Monday instead.

Really?

There was part of me who wanted to just say no and I'm not bothering with you anymore. All she would have had to do is tell me this in the days leading up to the shoot. I would have been fine if she said that things are getting a little busy for her and had asked to postpone to a later date. Just give me some advanced notice! But an hour before we were supposed to shoot? C'mon!!!

So now, here I am, sitting at my computer, writing this, and asking her what time slot she has open next Monday. I have some plans with friends that I had made over a month ago to head out to a haunted house and hayride. I am not going to cancel on them to do this shoot because that's not who I am. But should I even consider shooting her to begin with?

Now that Monday was wasted, a day in the mid-70's by the way, that makes two straight days that I had shoots planned that didn't happen. Yup, someone else cancelled on me yesterday. 

Yesterday's planned shoot was with a new model. Since she's new, and I don't really know her yet, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt. She mentioned some health reasons, which are good reasons to miss a shoot. I just wished she would have reached out to me about it earlier instead of me learning the night before when I messaged her.

So that was my weekend. Two different models, two different shoots not done. What makes this so much more annoying is I only have two days a week to shoot, typically. I pencil in models in advance on my calendar and try to maximize my month. When a model no shows me, or cancels last minute, it leaves me without a shoot. All these models would have to do it tell me a few days in advance and I could try to see if someone else is open. I constantly have friends asking me if I'm open to shoot, so I could always ask them if they're still open. I just need some advance notice. Too many of the people I shoot have kids, families, and work jobs on the days that I'm open. They usually make time to shoot with me, so I can't ask the day of if they're open to shoot. That rarely works.

Over the years this sort of thing has happened to me more times than I care to discuss. I only bring up this weekend because of the beautiful weather and my sheer excitement of a popular model return and a brand new model now wasted. So, if you happen to be a foot model reading this, please keep this in mind the next time there is a reason why you can't shoot. Even if that reason is legit, just try your best to be considerate of the photographer who oftentimes, made his/her schedule open just to spend time to work with you. I'm sure some of my peers are less understanding and might even cease working with you because of it.

To end on a positive note, I'm just glad I have friends/models such as Alice (above) and Mindee and Kelsey (both below) who always keep their plans and go far and beyond anything I ask of them. I put their photos here just to give props to a handful of my models who don't waste my time. I would gladly shoot these three each and every week, if I had the time. To you ladies, I say thank you!

Mindee (left) & Kelsey have long been dependable when it comes to keeping plans.